In Jill Lepore’s book, IF THEN (2020) a fascinating clip from an American presidential election in the 1960s is mentioned. Lepore traces in her book the early history of voter manipulation and targeted communication, through the firm Simulamatics – a forgotten predecessor to companies such as Cambridge Analytica. In the clip mentioned, presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson positions himself in an ongoing debate on use of TV ads in elections. Stevenson belonged to a group who was critical to the consequences of the use of TV ads. And he starts his TV commercial, by pointing out the “hidden” infrastructure, the lights, the cables. In addition, he explicitly reflects upon the difference between being somewhere in person and being on TV.
A treat for the media scholar. See the clip here.